June 14, 2024


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CD review: Bobby Sanabria – Vox Humana – 2023: Video, CD cover

Bobby Sanabria is an eight time Grammy-nominee as a leader. Known as a drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, conductor, documentary film producer, educator, activist, and bandleader, his versatility as both a drummer and percussionist, from small group to big band, has become legendary.

A native son of the South Bronx born to Puerto Rican parents, he has performed and recorded with every major figure in the world of Latin jazz and salsa, from the founder of the Afro-Cuban/Latin jazz movement Mario Bauzá, to Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaría, Dizzy Gillespie, Chico O’Farrill, Ray Barretto, Candido, to Larry Harlow, Ruben Blades, Celia Cruz, and jazz luminaries as diverse as Henry Threadgill, Charles McPherson, Randy Brecker, Joe Chambers, Jean Lucien, The Mills Brothers, and others. DRUM! Magazine named him Percussionist of the Year (2005); he was named Percussionist of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association in 2011 and 2013. In 2006, he was inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame. He was a recipient of the 2018 Jazz Education Network (JEN) LeJENS of Jazz Lifetime Achievement Award for his work as a musician and educator.

In 2008 Congressman Dennis Kucinich honored his work as a musician and educator by reading his name into the Congressional Record and in 2018 the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus honored him as a musician, educator. Every single one of his big band recordings, seven in total, have been nominated for Grammys. His 2018 recording, ‘West Side Story Reimagined,’ reached #1 on the national Jazz Week radio charts, was nominated for a 2018 Grammy, and won the prestigious 2019 Record of The Year Award from the Jazz Journalists Association.

Partial proceeds from sales of this double CD went to the Jazz Foundation of America’s Puerto Rico Relief Fund for musicians. He is the Co-Artistic Director of the Bronx Music Heritage Center and the forthcoming Bronx Music Hall. His lifetime dedication to spreading the history, culture, of jazz and Latin jazz to the general public as a performer, as well as educating a new generation of players, composers, arrangers, has no parallel.

A member of Max Roach’s legendary M’BOOM percussion ensemble, he is on the faculty of the New School (his 26th year) and was on the faculty of NYU, his alma mater Berklee, and was on the faculty of the Manhattan School fo Music for 20 years where he conducted/taught the Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra receiving two Grammy nominations for recordings he did with directing his students.

Sanabria is also the on air host of the Latin Jazz Cruise on WBGO FM and wbgo.org, the number one jazz station in the nation. Lehman College in NYC has recently awarded Maestro Sanabria an Honorary Doctorate. His new double CD, which will be released on May 12 2023, is a double CD with his Multiverse Big Band entitled VOX HUMANA.

Recorded live at Dizzy’s Club-Cola in NYC, it features three of jazz’s finest contemporary vocalists – Janis Siegel from the Manhattan Transfer, blues and jazz Queen Antoinette Montague, and multi-lingual powerhouse Jennifer Jade Ledesna.

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